Entering the Cave of the Shadow Puppeteers
The purpose of this book is to show how physics has been presented as a “natural science” and an “empirical science” on the basis of a hidden operational metaphysics. This metaphysics has allowed the traditional realist and positivistic philosophies of science to completely neglect the role of technology in the development of theories and observations within physics. Scientific instruments, such as telescopes and microscopes, are assumed to simply increase our perceptual possibilities and see what is “out there”. The use of detectors, such as X-ray scanners, electron microscopes, and the Geiger counter has supposedly allowed us to understand phenomena in the visible world in terms of otherwise invisible entities. According to the traditional view, the practical value of such instruments clearly “proves” that science has made considerable advances, progressed, and technology has no further relevance to the philosophy of science. However, as I shall argue in this book, technological innovation has not only made new observations and experiments possible but it has also transformed our experience and conception of reality. Using a microscope or a Geiger counter does not merely involve seeing or detecting what is there. One must interpret the behaviour of the instrument in terms of an understanding of how it works.
KeywordsExperimental Physic Natural World Modern Technology Seventeenth Century Modern Science
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